Demands on top NRL players 'ridiculous' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demands on top NRL players 'ridiculous'

11/05/2009 05:39:04 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane's physical performance director Dean Benton has described demands being placed on rugby league's star players as "ridiculous and insane".

As the club's 32 year-old champion Darren Lockyer prepares for his third game in seven days against the Gold Coast on Friday night, Benton supported comments by Cowboys players Johnathan Thurston and Luke O'Donnell who believe representative footballers deserve a better deal.

Benton, an expert in his field with stints at the AIS, Wallabies and in Europe, said it was time players' welfare was put ahead of television ratings.

Apart from Lockyer, Benton cited City Origin halfback Peter Wallace's case an a prime example.

"Wal (Wallace) would have had to have been up at 5am to catch a 7am flight out of Orange to get back to Brisbane.

"He would have had four hours sleep."

Thurston revealed after playing for the Kangaroos on Friday then backing-up with a three-try performance for North Queensland against St George 24 hours later he then slept for 12 hours.

Benton said allowing television (rankings) to dictate when players played was "insane".

"It's a huge ask and it's ridiculous," he said.

Benton said players experienced massive adrenalin dumps, sleep problems and had to get themselves back up mentally as well as overcome muscle soreness when backing up so quickly.

"There's no involvement with the rugby league players' association, or no significant or meaningful involvement from what I can tell." he said.

"The AFL Players' Association and even RUPA (Australian Rugby Union Players' Association) wouldn't allow it to happen."

"I've had nine months in European rugby and they have three competitions running concurrently but their games are still on each weekend and they never have to back up like that.

"It's ridiculous what they have to do, it wouldn't happen in any other competition in the world."

Benton said the Broncos had five to seven players "off their hands" for 13 weeks of the year.

"That's how many weeks we have no control of those players' preparations," he said.

"They come back to us and they're expected to play.

"It's an annual obstacle to success for the Broncos."

Benton praised coach Ivan Henjak's efforts to help players cope with the demands on their minds and body.

"Ivan really gets it. It's fantastic to have a coach who listens to you and listens to all his staff," Benton said.

"I can't rap him up enough."

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